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What are Thermodynamic Panels?

Using the heat in the air outside, thermodynamic panels are able to heat a hot water tank to provide a home with a renewable way of heating the domestic hot water.

While they’re similar to solar thermal panels, thermodynamic panels work not only during the day but through the night too, providing hot water 24 hours a day.

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What are thermodynamic panels?

Similar to air source heat pumps that extract heat from the air outside to either provide central heating or domestic hot water, thermodynamic panels use heat from the outdoor air to heat a hot water cylinder.

This process is highly efficient and gives homeowners an alternative solution to solar thermal panels that only work during the day.

How do thermodynamic panels work?

Rather than solar thermal panels, that need to be installed to the roof where they’ll get the most light, this isn’t essential for thermodynamic panels – they can even be installed on the side of a property – giving you more flexibility. So, if solar thermal isn’t appropriate for your home, thermodynamic panels offer an alternative.

Once installed, the thermodynamic panels can connect to the existing hot water cylinder and heat it using the air outside. The panel extracts heat from the air which warms a fluid leaves the panel and passes through a compressor where it is compressed into a hot gas. This gas then goes through the coil in the hot water cylinder, heating the hot water as a result.

At the end of this process, your home will have an efficient, sustainable and cost-effective domestic hot water heating solution.

are the benefits of thermodynamic panels?

Installing thermodynamic panels is an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way of heating the domestic hot water for your home that offer many benefits:

  • Provide 100% of the hot water for your home
  • Reduce energy bills by as much as 70%
  • Operate in temperatures as low as -15°C
  • Work day and night to provide hot water 24/7 365 days a year
  • Alternative to solar thermal
  • Suitable for installation on a roof or wall
  • Don’t require much maintenance
  • Lower the impact your home is having on the environment
  • Safer than using a gas or oil boiler
  • Have a lifetime of around 20 years

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Thermodynamic panel considerations

There’s a long list of benefits when it comes to installing thermodynamic panels but it’s always important to consider the potential downsides. In this case, they can be fairly expensive to run as they’re powered by electricity and they don’t currently entitle the owner to government payments through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

How much do thermodynamic panels cost?

Thermodynamic panels cost around £5,000 per panel and with the panels having outputs of up to 53kW, a single panel could be enough to meet the hot water demands of your home.

How much could you save with thermodynamic panels?

While it could cost upwards of £5,000 to have thermodynamic panels installed on your home, they’re much cheaper to run than other hot water heating systems. Not having to spend so much on heating the hot water, will reduce your energy bills and could soon see you make a return on that initial investment.

In addition, thermodynamic panels can last for as long as 20 years, so they’re a long term investment, especially when boilers should be replaced after about 10 years. So, despite the initial costs potentially being upwards of £5,000, after 20 years you could see a return of £500 – £6,500 over a gas, oil or electric boiler. The amount will vary depending on the electricity running costs, hot water heating system being replaced and performance of the thermodynamic panels.

Thermodynamic panel maintenance

Thermodynamic panels need very little maintenance during their lifetime. However, it’s a good idea to arrange a general check up of the panels a couple of times during a 10 year period to make sure they’re running efficiently.

To perform at their highest level of efficiency, the panels will need to be clean. Thermodynamic panels don’t need to be cleaned with any special products and living in the UK, where there’s frequent rainfall, should keep them clean depending on whereabouts they’re installed.

Thermodynamic panel installation

Unlike solar thermal panels, that should be installed on roof to maximise the amount of time they spend in direct sunlight, thermodynamic panels can be installed on the side of a property as well as the roof. Many homeowners choose to have them installed on the side of a home as they can resemble windows.

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